HGTV reveals ‘Urban Oasis’ in Ann Arbor

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

HGTV opened the doors of its newest “Urban Oasis” on Tuesday, revealing a modern Craftsman-style bungalow near downtown Ann Arbor with soaring ceilings, two master bedroom suites and a screened porch connected to the garage that’s perfect for watching the big game.

The 1,500-square- foot home — redone from top to bottom by a local architect and contractor, along with HGTV’s team — is now valued at more than $700,000.

The 1920s bungalow in Ann Arbor’s Water Hill neighborhood spans a modest 1,500 square feet, but was redone from top to bottom by a local architect and contractor, along with HGTV’s team. Now valued at more than $700,000, fans will have a chance to win the house for free by entering the “Urban Oasis” sweepstakes between Oct. 4 and Nov. 22.

HGTV will broadcast “HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway 2016 Special” at 11 p.m. Oct. 5, hosted by Matt Blashaw, just one day after the sweepstakes starts. Once the sweepstakes begins, viewers can enter twice a day at

Ann Arbor is “a very hip and trendy area with the university here and this community is within walking distance to downtown,” said Robyn Ulrich, HGTV/DIY’s senior vice president for home promotions and consumer products, explaining why the network chose Ann Arbor. “Urban doesn’t necessarily mean high rise in a big city.”

The first-floor bedroom suite.

The house, which has a fiber cement board painted a dark green on the outside, has a traditional Craftsman-style feel on the exterior, but inside “we wanted it to feel more modern,” said Brian Patrick Flynn, HGTV’s Urban Oasis interior designer.

And it does. The living room is painted a light sage green, an homage to Michigan as the Great Lakes state, said Flynn. The first floor has an concept floor plan that flows right from the living room with a 21-foot-high ceiling to a dining area and kitchen. All of the furniture was provided by

Architect Dawn Zuber of Studio Z Architecture in Plymouth was one of several local professionals who worked on the project. The house was in rough shape when they started, Zuber said, but they completely took off the roof and attic, added a second floor and installed a big dormer window. The second floor now has a spacious bedroom suite with a lovely blue-and-white tile bathroom, jet bathtub and roomy walk-in closet.

A screen-in porch addition is attached to the garage in Ann Arbor’s Water Hill neighborhood.

“We packed a lot in 1,500 square feet,” said Zuber, who said they only added about 100 square feet to the footprint.

The garage, meanwhile, has not one, but two garage doors — one of which is glass and leads to a large screened porch perfect for football viewing parties. It overlooks a lush, green backyard that includes farm-to-table garden beds that University of Michigan landscape architect students helped design and install.

“The students had a lot of fun,” said Stanton Jones, an associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Michigan who worked on the project.

Three pendant lights hang over an island-prep sink in the kitchen.

Ulrich said more than 40 million entries were submitted for last year’s “Urban Oasis” in Asheville, North Carolina — its 6th “Urban Oasis” — and the network is hoping for an even better response this year.

And there’s a new twist this time. Ulrich said whoever wins the Ann Arbor bungalow doesn’t necessarily have to claim it. They could take a cash option instead, which would be $350,000. Sponsor Quicken Loans also is offering an additional $50,000 to whoever wins.

“We hope they take the home,” said Ulrich.

This is the backyard.

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